If it was up to us, Lane Johnson would be voted into the Hall of Fame as soon as he became eligible. Sadly, it isn’t up to us.
Lane’s misstep with PEDs is obviously a black eye on his resume. You never know though. The NFL is more forgiving than Major League Baseball and you never know how voters view these things.
If he was able to survive the criticism that comes with making a mistake, there are still other arguments that would support and complicate his path to induction. Here are two of the latter.
2. Potential Hall of Famers are compared to comparable players of their era.
Lane Johnson has been a phenomenal talent for a decade; however, when we begin discussing the exclusive class that is the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there are a lot of phenomenal talents that have been ignored (Jim Tyrer, Joe Jacoby). The questions are about whether or not Lane can climb in the minds of voters and surpass those guys.
There’s also this to consider. Potential Hall of Famers often see their accomplishments compared to those of peers that played in the same era, and one of the challenges Lane will face is this.
By the time he calls it a career, he would have played from the midpoint of one decade (the 2010s) to the midpoint of another (the 2020s). He isn’t just in competition with some HOF-worthy guys on other teams (Tyron Smith). One of his former teammates, Jason Peters, may also be competition if Peters isn’t voted in as soon as he’s eligible and these two compete in years that follow.
Keep in mind the fact that, technically, Jason Peters is still ineligible because he has yet to retire.